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article imageOp-Ed: Another American detained. What isn't 'rash' by DPRK standards?

By Bill K. Anderson     Jun 27, 2014 in World
Pyongyang - Another American is detained on equally stupifying reasons as the other two. The US is trying to get them out, but how effective can negotiations really be?
An American tourist, Jeffrey Edward Fowle, was arrested by North Korean authorities for claimed inappropriate activities. He had entered North Korea as a tourist on April 29, though was identified as acting contrary to this motive during his stay, and currently contributes to the number of US citizens currently held by the North Korean authorities.
Mr. Fowle is the third American who to be detained by in the country, according to the US Department of State. Marie Harf, the Department’s spokeswoman, said to reporters, “We continue to actively seek the release of all three.” The first detained to be detained is an American-Korean Christian missionary, Kenneth Bae, who was arrested in November 2012 and is sentenced for 15 years of hard labor after being convicted of trying to overthrow the government with religion. The second one was 24-year-old Matthew Todd Miller, who had been imprisoned on April 10 after tearing up his tourist visa for shouting for a desire for asylum in the country as shelter. Such an action is considered a big violation of North Korea law, the KCNA agency said. North Korea authorities use the arrested Americans as diplomatic bargaining chips.
A similar story from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the detaining of Edward Fowle and is investigating him just before he was about to leave the country “apparently for having left behind a Bible at the hotel where he had been staying.” North Korea claims to accept religious freedom but in practice, considered the act as incompatible with and even threatening to the state-sponsored personality cult of the ruling Kim family. In a recent week, a South Korean Baptist missionary was sentenced to a life term of hard labor by the North for a series of “grave infringements,” including an attempt to set up underground churches. Pyongyang is particularly sensitive to Christianity. according to the United Nations’ report on North Korean rights violations, they see religion as a tool of Western and capitalist invasion while comparing it to drugs, narcotics and sin tool of Western and capitalist invasion.
The US government warns all citizens who want to travel to North Korea that joining a group tour or using a tour guide will not prevent their arrest or detention by North Korean authorities. Some tentative efforts led by private tour operators to prevent or resolve past detentions of U.S. citizens in the DPRK in order to gain their release have not succeeded. The US government also adds that foreign visitors may have the risk to be arrested, detained, or expelled for activities that would not be considered as criminal act outside North Korea.
“Any activities which may bring threat to the North Korean regime, including those which are related to or involved in religious or political issues, are unauthorized”, said professor Yang Moo-Jin at the University of North Korean Studies.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
More about North korea, Detained, American, DPRK
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